Shaping Cities in an Urban Age | Venice Biennale Meetings on Architecture

Panel discussion hosted by La Biennale di Venezia and LSE Cities

The 2018 International Architecture Biennale celebrates Freespace – diversity, specificity, and continuity in architecture and its capacity to connect with history, time, place, and people. This session extended the discussion to the urban level, investigating how cities play a critical role in creating opportunities and places for democratic engagement.

Drawing on a range of contemporary urban experiences included in a new book, Shaping Cities in an Urban Age,  the panel explored how Paris, Mexico City and London are addressing the challenges of urban change at a spatial and political level. Selected examples of city-level interventions of Freespace featured in the Biennale will animate a discussion of the role of architecture in an increasingly urban world.

This was the global book launch of Shaping Cities in an Urban Age, edited by Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode, published by Phaidon. Based on a the 15-year Urban Age research programme, the book contains 37 essays by leading policy makers, practitioners and scholars, offering new perspectives on the dynamics of urban change. It tracks how cities such as Addis Ababa, London and Delhi have transformed since 1990 and compares patterns of growth, inequality and energy consumption of other global locations, including New York, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro. The book identifies current trends that are making them more fragmented, less equitable and environmentally more damaging, and argues powerfully for a more integrated social, environmental and spatial approach that can inform and inspire the city makers who are shaping an increasingly urban world.


    José Castillo

    José Castillo is a practicing architect in Mexico City and a visiting professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Alongside Saidee Springall he founded arquitectura 911sc, an independent practice based in Mexico City. Their work includes award-winning social housing projects, cultural facilities, infrastructure and large-scale masterplans, and they are winners of the 2014 Audi Urban Futures Award. Castillo is member of the advisory board of LSE Cities and Urban Age.

    Shelley McNamara

    Shelley McNamara is a co-founder of Grafton Architects with Yvonne Farrell. McNamara and Farrell are both graduates of UCD, Fellows of the RIAI, International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA and elected members of Aosdána, the eminent Irish Art organisation. Teachers at the School of Architecture at University College Dublin from 1976 to 2002 and appointed adjunct Professors in 2015. They have held the Kenzo Tange chair at GSD Harvard and the Louis Kahn chair at Yale University and have been visiting professors at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland; Accademia d’Archittettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland, where they were appointed as full professors in 2013.

    Jean-Louis Missika

    Jean-Louis Missika is Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of urbanism, architecture, economic development and attractiveness, and was co-director of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s team during the2014 Paris municipal elections. He is also a sociologist specializing in media sociology and has continued his teaching alongside a career in politics and consultancy. His political career began in 2008when he was elected councillor of Paris and was appointed Deputy Mayor by Bertrand Delanoë. He is responsible for the Reinventing Paris initiative that is implementing major projects across Greater Paris.

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics (LSE), and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age project. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, and was chief advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural advisor to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was director of the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2006. With Deyan Sudjic he is co-editor of The Endless City (2007) and Living in the Endless City (2011) and, with Philipp Rode Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (2018).